Dave White
Gran Torino Review

Dave's Rating:

4.5

...get off my lawn

Who’s In It: Clint Eastwood, Christopher Carley, Bee Vang, Ahney Her

The Basics: Grumpy old Korean War veteran and super-racist Clint grudgingly befriends two teenage Hmong siblings next door and helps defend them against a violent street gang. I wish I could say that cheesy plot synopsis meant the movie sucked more than it does. But it’s pretty effective thanks to Clint’s obvious joy at playing a creature that’s 50 percent Archie Bunker, 50 percent Iron Man.

What’s The Deal: This movie is the answer to the question—and you know you were wondering about it--“What happened to Dirty Harry when he got so old that he wore his pants way up high, started cursing the manners of ‘these kids today?’ and had to rethink violence as a signifier of masculinity?” Meanwhile, he’s got the same gun skills, similarly great car (a major plot point and metaphor) and exactly the same snarly one-liners. That “get off my lawn” has replaced “do you feel lucky, punk?” is just a function of how it goes when you turn eleventy.

Note To The Sensitive-Eared Among You: When I describe him as “super-racist” I mean that he’d make all but the most White Power-y neo-Nazis blush with embarrassment at the bigoted slang that stage-whispers its way out of his mouth. And he’s the hero of the story. And because it's Clint Eastwood, his character still seems more real than anyone in Crash.

Coolest Newcomer: Ahney Her, as the mouthy teenage girl next door, is young enough not to be burdened with anxiety over sharing verbal jousting duties with a screen legend. Either that or she’s just naturally talented and unflappable.

Stay For Those Credits: So you can hear Clint croak out the first verse of the movie's crazy-dumb theme song. Bronco Billy's gotta sing!

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